Cinematech Episode 233: “Absolute Madness”
Timecode: 5:07: The intro to the StarCraft: Brood War expansion pack from 1998, which features a fancy classical song as deliberate Soundtrack Dissonance to scenes of interplanetary conflict between three species.
7:14: More pop-up trivia, this time for Halo: Combat Evolved. Released as a launch title for the Xbox on November 11th, 2001, it is one of the most successful launch games ever. Remember when video game consoles still had key games available at launch? Ah, nostalgia.
- ”There are several references to the Marathon series of games, also by Bungie””Marines will occasionally refer to you as 'Mark Five'. Marathon's main character was a Mjonir Mark IV cyborg””The storyboards for the FMVs were drawn by the same artist who did the storyboards for the film The Fifth Element”
I love that movie!
- ”Halo was first introduced at Macworld Expo in 1999 by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and was set to release on the Macintosh at the time... but the demo was playing on a PC”
- ”Much of the dialogue spoken by the Covenant Elites is in fact dialogue by the human Sargeant, reversed, with some pitch alterations””Much of the dialogue of the 'Grunt' characters is taken from the Human characters in Marathon 1”
Can I just say I love the Grunt Birthday Party Skull in the later Halo games? This skull, when set to “on” in the options, rewards headshots on Grunts with confetti and children screaming, “Yay!”
- ”Some of the dialogue spoken by the Marines comes directly from the film Aliens”
Remember when Peter Jackson was trying to develop a Halo live-action movie? Yeah... Eventually, there was a Halo4 prequel movie, Forward Unto Dawn, however.
Some bonus trivia: Master Chief's voice actor does not like video games.
12:41: A rare cinematic treat from Cinematech: Clips from Plan 9 from Outer Space, an Ed Wood movie featured as an extra in the game Destroy All Humans! (PS2, Xbox, 2005). This sci-fi film originally released in 1959 is about an alien invasion, conveyed to the audience and North America in the movie by shiny flying saucers seen across the skyline the country over. A drunken guy sees them and decides to put the bottle down. The US military artillery shoots at them to no effect! This is conveyed by having sparks fly at and explode around the saucers in separate shots. The saucers take off and the military wonders if they will return and what the purpose of their visits could be.
Cinematech Episode 235: “Slight Pressure Applied to Stop Bleeding”
This ep featured, to some degree, Pong as a transition between clips. Instead of the game's typical bleeps and bloops, they dubbed them over with increasingly surreal sound effects, including suggestive moaning.
0:15: Clips of random carnage and cutscenes from early on in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, played to, in part, the catchy Gary Numan song “Cars”.
2:30: The stylish intro of American McGee's Alice (2000), a dark take on the classic story that has influenced quite a few video games of its own. The story was about a girl named Alice, who, after surviving the fire that took her parents' lives, wound up in a mental institution. But one night, her stuffed bunny says to her, “Save us, Alice!” She goes on a journey to rescue the inhabitants of Wonderland from the Queen of Hearts.
5:56: A cutscene from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty where Raiden, who is a bad enough dude to try to rescue the President, but not bad enough to save an African Prime Minister from being assassinated by a privatized military company, meets said President, who is quite confused by his being a man, albeit a very pretty one. The scene kind of leaves a bad taste in ones mouth due to playing sexual harassment for laughs when the President grabs Raiden's crotch to confirm his gender. Jeez, save it for your interns. To add to the surreality of the scene, where the scene would normally end, Cinematech rewound the scene and edited it almost like a YouTube Poop, manipulating the footage to make the President say, “You're—some kind of—military issue—sick joke!”. On top of that, the President in this game was named Johnson. Bananas.
9:42: “We Love Education Games!” claims Cinematech, but the snarky punk rock song they played to this montage of edugames says otherwise. Games featured include Oregon Trail, Carmen Sandiego, Donkey Kong Jr. Math, and educational Rayman and Sesame Street games. I seem to recall that DKJM was one of the NES games in Animal Crossing.
The song's lyrics are as follows:
- You call this an education?I try, I have no patienceTo follow all the rulesNever found it quite so easyTo be myself, they think I'm cheesyEveryone thinks I am so uncoolI hate schoolWork nine to five, get no damn payI hate schoolI'd rather get a job making fries all dayI hate schoolNever did like history anywayI hate schoolNothing makes sense in what you sayI hate schoolI hate school
The nerve of Cinematech to contribute to the delinquency of gamers!
10:49: Clips from near the end of Resident Evil GameCube, Jill Valentine's scenario. You can tell it's the good ending because Chris Redfield and Barry Burton meet Jill on the helipad. They think they are about to escape from the mansion that had an Umbrella research laboratory hidden underneath, but the creature with the giant claw and exposed heart that is somehow Umbrella's ultimate weapon called the Tyrant has other ideas. He bursts out from below the helipad and sideswipes Chris, leaving Barry and Jill to take him on. I believe this is where the game's ending can diverge again, changing whether or not the Tyrant kills poor Barry Burton. It's the same in Chris' scenario, with poor, cute little Rebecca Chambers instead. They show an abridged version of the fight with the Tyrant where Jill tries to kill it with her grenade launcher to no avail, leaving STARS pilot Brad “Chickenheart” Vickers to drop a rocket launcher down on the helipad, which Jill uses to blow the Tyrant up.
The CG ending shows Barry examining his signature magnum, while Jill leans on Chris' shoulder and falls asleep. Aw.
I'm still amazed at how good this game looks, even today, with great character models and CG backgrounds, even when compared to modern, all-polygonal games.
Can we also take a moment to appreciate the differences between Chris and Jill's scenarios? Jill is basically Easy mode, because she had two extra inventory slots, the lockpick, and the grenade launcher, which had an exploitable infinite ammo glitch! Chris' scenario is much harder because he never gets the GL and has to lug around Small Keys to unlock certain locks. But then again, I was so bad at the game, I could never complete it above easy difficulty anyway. ;_;
13:05: Clips from the intro and gameplay of Disaster Report, a PS2 game about surviving a city besieged by earthquakes. The clips were presented like a retro American TV show, with funky music. What I didn't know about this game for years after its initial release was how the characters were altered to appear more Caucasian, i.e. given blond hair. Fun fact: On the North American box art, the distressed damsel kind of looks like Britney Spears.
15:42: A Sega Dreamcast retrospective, featuring games such as Skies of Arcadia, Dead or Alive 2, Space Channel 5, Shenmue, Sonic Adventure, and a fishing game. Some real classics there, and so much nostalgia...
Finally, the intro of the PS1 version of Pong closes out the ep.